Today in History:

Kennebec (1862-1865)

USS Kennebec, a 691-ton Unadilla class screw steam gunboat built at Thomaston, Maine, was commissioned in February 1862. Through her entire operational career, she engaged in operations against the Confederacy in the Gulf of Mexico and on the lower Mississippi River. In April 1862, Kennebec supported the Federal squadron that fought its way past New Orleans' defending fortifications to capture that great seaport. She spent the next three months patrolling along the Mississippi and bombarding enemy forces at Vicksburg.

For two years beginning in August 1862, Kennebec was an active participant in the blockade of Mobile Bay, Alabama, capturing five blockaqe runners. Lashed alongside USS Monongahela on 5 August 1864, she was a unit of the fleet that Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut boldly took past Fort Morgan to enter Mobile Bay, thus closing the port of Mobile to Confederate commerce. In this action, she was lightly damaged by gunfire from the ironclad ram CSS Tennessee. Kennebec subsequently took part in the bombardments that led to Fort Morgan's surrender.

During the last few months of the Civil War, Kennebec was stationed off the still-hostile Texas coast. Once the conflict ended in May 1865, she remained in the area for a few more months before going north in July. USS Kennebec decommissioned in August and was sold in November 1865. She was subsequently converted to a sailing bark and employed as a merchant ship.

This page features the only views we have related to USS Kennebec (1862-1865).

Photo #: NH 59066

"Reconnoissance of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, on the Mississippi, by Gun-boats from Flag-officer Farragut's Squadron"

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1862, depicting the attack on the obstructions below the forts, 20 April 1862.
U.S. Navy gunboats shown in right center are Itasca and Pinola. Further to the right are Kennebec and Winona. Fort Jackson is shown at far right, with Confederate gunboats beyond.

Photo #: NH 42244

"Passage of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, April 24, 1862. Order of Attack."

Chart showing the positions of U.S. Navy ships during the action (with individual ships identified, with their commanders), and of Confederate defenses ashore and afloat.

Online Image: 208KB; 795 x 1225 pixels

Photo #: NH 83136

"Entrance of Rear Admiral Farragut in to Mobile Bay. August 5th 1864"

Chart of the action, prepared by RAdm. D.G. Farragut, Washington, D.C., March 1st, 1865.
See Photo # NH 83136 (complete caption) for further information, as printed on the original chart.

Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation.

Online Image: 277KB; 870 x 1200 pixels